April 1926 — Hugo Gernsback, publisher of Electrical Experimenter science magazine, launched the first magazine devoted to science fiction — or what Gernsback liked to call “scientifiction.” Amazing Stories was published for almost 80 years, passing through the hands of a wide range of publishers (including, in the late 1990s, Wizards of the Coast). It debuted writers including Isaac Asimov and Ursula K. Le Guin, but the magazine suffered from uneven leadership, uneven quality, and controversial editorial policies. It ceased publication in 2005.
January 21, 2013 — Steve Davidson of Experimenter Publishing (note the company name) has re-launched Amazing Stories as a web community, with the goal of establishing a market that will enable him to revive the professional fiction magazine. Davidson, curator of the Classic Science Fiction Channel website and author of several books on paintball, spent three years obtaining the rights to the Amazing Stories name. He published two online issues of the magazine last year, as a proof of concept.
“Every genre fan now has a chance to help support the creation of a new market for the stories, artwork, and articles they all love so much,” Davidson said in a news release this morning.
At the core of the new site’s content are posts by a team of bloggers covering a wide range of science fiction-related topics. The site will offer product reviews, convention news and listings, and will take advertising.
I have more than just a science fiction reader’s interest in the revival of Amazing Stories. I’m going to be one of the bloggers for the site, writing primarily (but not exclusively) about my explorations of science fiction-related communities including gaming, girl geekdom, the Maker community, Steampunk, Browncoats, Discworld, and SF/mystery crossovers. Please come join us at Amazing Stories.
If you’ve got a new iPad — or just about any Apple device — the Take Control ebooks are a quick way to master the basics and gets tips you’ll actually use.
One of the new Take Control ebooks about the iPad.
Take Control has just announced their summer sale — 50% off on most titles — so now is the time to buy and download. (You’ll even find an ebook covering iPad Basics that’s absolutely free.)
Full disclosure: Take Control is one of my favorite clients. I’ve edited two of the books in their current catalog: Take Control of iWeb by Steve Sande and Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner by Joe Kissell.
iWeb is Apple’s web software, a application that allows complete beginners to use Apple-designed templates to turn their words, photos, audio, movies, etc., in professional looking websites. Thanksgiving Dinner is, well, I suspect you have an idea. This free sample of the ebook includes Joe’s method for making great mashed potatoes and his tips for putting together a Thanksgiving dinner at the last minute.
James Wolcott’s amusing article “What’s a Culture Snob to Do?” in Vanity Fair bemoans the impending loss of the book cover as a way to assess fellow travelers. How, indeed, can you tell if the ebook someone is reading on a Kindle or iPhone is Chaucer…or chick lit?
Wolcott goes on to predict the demise of the bookcase, and even the end of the coffee table book. But, speaking as someone with more than 30 bookcases overwhelming the house, I’d happily lose those and have more wall space available for art.
(Thanks you to The Culinary Curator for pointing out the Vanity Fair piece.)
Filed under iPhone, Reading
British designer M.S. Corley has designed a set of Harry Potter covers in the style of classic Penguin Books.
Some years back, I did quite a bit of book reviewing for January Magazine; I miss that, and am looking forward to doing a small book reviewing project for Publishers Weekly this spring.
This piece by Bob Harris in The New York Times was a painful reminder about some of the hackneyed adjectives book reviewers too often find themselves using. I’ve been able to avoid “poignant” and “eschew.” But I have to admit, when it comes to “intriguing” — guilty!
Filed under Reading, Writing
At my annual checkup today, my doctor asked me if I watched TV. I said my TV isn’t even hooked up to broadcast sources — I only use it to watch DVDs when friends come over to visit.
He laughed, admitted that he doesn’t watch broadcast TV, either, and commented that he sees a direct correlation between lots of of TV watching and poor health among his patients, particularly the elderly. He said the problem isn’t just sitting and watching TV instead of exercising; it’s letting the mind slip into passivity instead of engaging with games, discussions, puzzles, writing, and reading.
I love reading, but recently have been spending what used to be my reading time writing instead. And instead of reading new books, I’ve been working my way through science fiction classics (such as Cordwainer Smith’s Norstrilia) to get a better understanding of that genre.
Thus, I have yet to read any of the books on Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year list. But, seeing the list made me realize how much I want to get to some of these, particularly Michael Connelly‘s latest, The Brass Verdict, Donald Ray’s Knockemstiff, and Greg Bear’s City at the End of Time.
(cross-posted on Food, Fitness, Fashion)
You can’t judge a book by its cover, but the middle page is a whole other story.
I have four books to review for a publication. For the heck of it, I opened one book to the middle and read a page.
I opened the second book to the middle and read a page.
I opened the third book to the middle and read a page and thought “Not bad.”
And then I opened the fourth book, read a middle page, read another page, and thought “Nice. Really nice.”
Tonight I’m sitting in the living room reading that fourth book, and it’s pure joy. I can’t believe people pay me (a modest amount) to do this.
Of course, I do still have to go back and read and review the other three. I guess that’s why they have to pay me.